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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weird, wacky, wonderful (Hebrew) words: שַׁלֶּכֶת/ shalechet

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It’s way too early to be thinking about fall, but there you go – that’s what I’m thinking about.  I accidentally put on my “Elul Hebrew Songs” playlist before Shabbos and ended up listening to a whole bunch of pre-Rosh Hashanah songs and getting into THAT kind of mood.

And with all these songs comes a word that comes up all the time in the fall in Israel that I had never really even thought about before… שַׁלֶּכֶת/ shalechet.

Morfix translates the word as “fall (of autumn leaves) ; (botany) exfoliation.”  Google, as “autumn, fall, or effoliation.”  But you’ll have to take my word for it – nobody says this in English the way Israelis do here, with its many heaped-on layers of meaning.

This is a lovely word that is a haiku unto itself.  It means, vaguely, “fallen leaves on sidewalks.”  But it also refers to the crunchiness of the leaves and the mood of the leaves and the ending-and-transitioning that is fall and even, kind of, winter in Israel, which isn’t really a season but more a dampness that descends for a while and then lifts.

It’s certainly not just “falling leaves” – because when people want to talk about falling leaves, they say עלי שלכת/alei shalechet, which would be redundant if shalechet was all about leaves.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Things that are cool in Israel #8: Barbie’s Book of Tehillim

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You know what's cool about about Israel that I don't write about often enough?  Prayer.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, kindly overlook the fact that I haven't blogged here in over a year.)
Bevakasha.

Because I really want to talk about prayer for a second.
Prayer so cheap you take it for granted.
Specifically, books of Tehillim (Psalms).  Here in our local "stock" shop (Max Stock Kiryat Chaim), they sell bulk packages of keychain sifrei Tehillim, 7 for ₪10.  If you're in the U.S., that's less than $3. 

How awesome is this?

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